This Summer! この夏!

Today marks the 16th consecutive day of rain in Tokyo.  Yesterday’s TV news told us that this is the first time in 40 years that we have been so blessed.  It is better than a water shortage, I guess.  But when it comes to outdoor sports this August has been somewhat challenging.  I have been lucky, managing to walk and cycle between the downpours.  And this year I had an excellent companion for four rides this month.  My brother Russ, sister-in-law Kim and neice Lindsey visited for the first two weeks in August.  It was a previously unexerienced luxury to have them with us (it was their first-ever trip to Japan).  Morning coffee with whoever was up early, fun rides with my brother, day trips around Tokyo, and our daily 5:00 pm wine time (in honor of my father) were all great fun.  I don’t usually post much family news on this blog, but the first visit by my brother and family since we moved to Japan in 1989 certainly rates a post on “The View.”  I think we were able to give them a memorable experience – there were 4 earthquakes, 1 typhoon, rain storms, heat and humidty, and voracious mosquitos to enjoy.  

テレビニュースによると、東京は40年ぶりに16日間連続の雨に恵まれています。水不足より良い状態でしょうが、関東地方の皆さんは困っていると思います。私は雨と雨の間サイクリングと散歩をしていますので、文句は言えません。しかも、弟家族が初来日してくれたので、たくさんの楽しみにがありました。弟のラスもサイクリストですので、2週間の間4回ほど一緒にサイクリングが出来ました。金沢へ出かけた三日間以外、弟、奥さん、そして姪が自宅で一緒に暮らしました。本当に幸せな2週間でした。彼らにとって、日本の全てが新鮮だったようです。忘れられない経験は4回の地震、台風、大雨、蒸し暑い気候、そして、どこにでもいる蚊ではないかと想像します。

It is always fun to show a first-time Japan visitor around, because lets me ‘re-see’ Japan through their eyes.  Though they were here for two weeks, we didn’t do many of the famous sights in Tokyo.  There were many alternatives to those crowded scenes.  Some highlights were eating dinner on our roof while watching fireworks, attending a Bon Odori dance in my neighborhood, visiting Hikawa Jinja (a large Shinto shrine) in Omiya with craft beer in the evening.  Our only trip out of the Tokyo area was to Kanazawa, a 2+ hour shinkensen train ride.  It is a town with a castle, famous Japanese garden, neighborhoods with traditional buildings, etc, and was a great way to sample several aspects of Japanese culture in a small area. 

初来日の人を案内するのは楽しいことで、彼らの目を通して、日本をフレッシュな観点から見ることが出来ます。東京都内の有名な観光スポットはほとんど避けました。逆に、近所の盆踊り、自宅の屋上から花火大会を見る、大宮の氷川神社、などのような混まないスポットをターゲットしました。唯一の旅は2泊3日の金沢旅行でした。新幹線に乗りたいから、そして、伝統的なお城、日本庭園、茶屋街などのある街でしたので、もっとも適した行き先だったと思います。

Here are a few of photos from the visit, as well as 2 route maps from a couple of 100 km rides Russ and I managed to fit in.  Russ-Kim-Lindsey: if you are reading this, you must return before too many years go by! 

写真は以下の通りです。

PHOTOS

Meiji Shrine, Tokyo


Hikawa Shrine, Omiya


Shaved ice to cool off at Hikawa Shrine


Reading the messages, Hikawa Shrine


Rare blue sky at Kanazawa Castle


Kenrokuen Garden, Kanazawa


Guides being guided at Kenrokuen Garden, Kanazawa


An attractive couple in the Chayagai area, Kanazawa


Museum of modern art, Kanazawa


Russ sits only where it is appropriate


Imperial Palace East Gardens, Tokyo

And now for the rides!  (Isn’t this the part you were waiting for?)

Russ and I were able to get in four good rides over the two weeks of the visit.  Two times were 100 km routes; one around the city, over to Disneyland, up the Edo River, and back home.  The other was out to Kawagoe City via the Arakawa and Irumagawa river dike system.  Both were great fun.  Warning: if you ride with Russ be prepared to pump those pedals.  

100 km ride around Tokyo


We rode around Disneyland


Russ at the Imperial Palace


Kawagoe ride map


Break time at Kawagoe

 

 

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